According to the IAB, around 26% of people now use ad blockers while browsing on desktop. 

We recently spoke with Sacha Bunatyan, Global B2C Marketing Director at The Financial Times, to hear how the publisher is tackling the problem.

You can watch the interview in full here, and I've also summarised her answers below.

The FT's innovative approach

While some sites have started to completely block access to anyone using the software, The FT is taking a different approach.

One of multiple strategies, it has recently started to serve a partial view of the site to anyone using ad-blocking software, by blurring or missing out portions of text.

Essentially, this serves as a visual-representation of what ad blocking does to the business revenue overall. 

Getting users to understand the impact

Instead of merely shutting out readers, The FT’s strategy aims to get consumers interested and engaged in what is an industry-wide problem.

Adobe estimated that ad-blockers cost publishers nearly $22bn in 2015, and according to Sacha, consumers can often be unaware of the large-scale impact.

A consumer-focused solution

There is no single solution to the problem of ad-blocking, however The Financial Times is striving to bring back the focus onto the consumer.

In doing so, it aims to create a two-way conversation – recognising the pitfalls for both publishers and their audiences – to ultimately find a solution for all.

Sacha is among the expert speakers at Econsultancy's Get With The Programmatic event in London on September 21.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 31 August, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)


Dan Ford, Web Analyst at Bournemouth University

It’s funny how the number one priority focus in marketing at the moment is on user and customer experience, going to greater lengths than ever before to provide a positive [brand] experience for our visitors and customers with UX, CRO, analytics, big data, etc. etc.

And yet at the same time, after all of this hard work to improve the user interface, more and more websites are opening pop-ups a few seconds after entry, having to click to reveal content, unnecessarily spreading content over multiple pages, auto-enabling advertising audio and video or offering thinly-veiled low-quality click bait within and all around the main content users are coming to the site to consume.

The problem here is not ad blockers at all, they’re just a solution website users are having to revert to in an attempt to bypass the increasingly intrusive, annoying, obstructive, and frankly ridiculous methods more and more websites and advertisers are using.

Just my opinion of course, but I think that the solution to this is not blocking visitors with ad blockers, but in finding less intrusive and more respectful, user-focussed, appropriate and convenient ways to present advertising content. Otherwise this entire situation is just going escalate, with consumers using advancing technologies to block adverts and advertisers/publishers having to react with new ways to counter this, whilst all the while display CTRs diminish further and further.

almost 2 years ago


Russell Ball, Global AV/Media Operations Lead at Reckitt Benckiser

@Dan - I agree, some great points here.

One major part of the ad blocking problem is that clients/brands demand digital innovation and standout within a crowded marketplace. Often that leads to publishers creating impactful ad executions that are often intrusive.

Add into the mix the issue of viewability, and we are faced with demand from brands for these types of executions, which aggravate users and are often slow to load which impacts the chance of them to be seen. Publishers are really caught between a rock and a hard place.

To remove this contradiction, I'd like to see a return to more simplistic ad executions, which improve user experience and reduce the need to block ads and increases the chance of them to be seen.
The only issue would be the threat to digital creative agencies, who need revenue from this bespoke creative executions.
If they get on board and look to deliver more standard creative, whilst maintaining the brand image and messaging then everyone can benefit.

almost 2 years ago

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